In April, World Land Trust (WLT) Project Partner Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) convened a ground breaking meeting of conservation experts, forest authorities and conservation organisation representatives to discuss urgent needs for elephant conservation in Southern India.
The workshop focused on two key topics: “securing elephant corridors” and “human-elephant conflict mitigation”. The WLT-WTI Elephant Corridor Project in Kerala, to protect the Tirunelli-Kudrakote corridor, was used as a success story to demonstrate how elephant corridors can benefit both wildlife and local communities in the area. The workshop participants reviewed the status of the 88 corridors previously identified by WTI as critical for the survival of the Asian Elephant in India. These corridors were identified as being vitally important as they potentially link together already protected forests and would allow long ranging species, such as elephants and tigers, to move safely throughout their natural range. Participants also discussed the progress of current projects and ways of reducing elephant conflict with humans. A further 2 corridors were suggested for protection. WTI has also designed new signs which will be erected prominently in each of the 88 elephant corridors identified. The signs will be displayed in prominent locations in each corridor to raise awareness of the forest’s importance to elephants and to alert people to their presence. Where the corridor is criss-crossed with roads WTI hopes that by bringing attention to elephants in the vicinity this will encourage drivers to slow down when driving through the corridor. It will also help planning authorities to develop activities away from the elephant route to avoid any potential conflict.